In a year where so many people have experienced loss and stress, getting the company holiday card right was incredibly important. This was not the year for animated snowflakes or the words happy holidays in different languages or cityscapes from the locations in which the company had offices. It was a year to delight and demonstrate gratitude and thankfulness. If firms could strike the right balance by providing moments of levity in such a serious year, they could consider their card a success.

I came across a few cards that really resonated with me, and I’ll be featuring them on the blog.

First up is an interview with Kristyn Brophy, the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Boston-based Conn Kavanaugh, who shared with me the concept behind her firm’s awesome and clever holiday e-card this year.

How did you come up with the concept for the card? 

It was Conn Kavanaugh’s first time ever doing a holiday e-greeting, so I knew I had to do something big. We also had four partners join the firm in the fall, adding satellite offices in Illinois and North Carolina, so our usual Boston-themed card didn’t make sense this year.

Like many others during the pandemic, I developed a bit of a TikTok addiction. I was inspired by the viral “pass the drink” trend that resulted in 100’s of socially-distanced creative and collaborative videos this year. It was a great way to bring the firm together for an e-card that would showcase the true collegial spirit of our firm.

How did you get such great participation?

Lots and lots of firmwide emails! There were certainly some skeptics at first, but I made a few examples of me passing redwelds and drinks to myself, and I gained a lot of momentum from those. My managing partner and the firm’s director of administration were also huge supporters of this project, which helped to drum up further support and participation.

What was involved in making it all come together?

Again, lots of emails, but also a lot of post-its, Red Bull and patience with myself. I scheduled one-on-one “recording sessions” via Zoom with everyone who signed up to be involved and then created a storyboard document to keep track of the video order.

Each person could pick what they wanted to “pass” on to the next, so I had to make sure to include the item being passed in the storyboard as well.  I would then use that storyboard to help in “directing” individuals during their recording session. Once everyone was recorded, it was a matter of adding some opening and closing graphics, some music and a little bit editing “magic.”

How long did it take to make? 

If I had to guess, my estimate would be the project took about 25-30 hours total, start to finish. The biggest time suck was recording everyone and mapping out the storyboard. The video itself didn’t take terribly long to splice together. That being said, there were a few days where I would have 10 or more recording sessions scheduled, and it felt like I’d never be able to focus on my other projects again.

What software did you use? 

I used Zoom to record everyone, and then Adobe Premiere Pro to put the project together and create the final video.

Any tips for others who want to DIY a card? 

Don’t try to tackle more than you’re capable of, and allow yourself plenty of time to create your final product. Something I say before any big design project is that “it always takes longer than you expect it will,” and e-cards are no exception to that rule. Stick to software with which you are familiar, and build in time to make mistakes.

What did you enjoy most about this project? 

I enjoyed the collaboration and seeing all of the creative ideas people came up with. I also really enjoyed being able to have Zoom calls with so many people at the firm. Each recording session would lead to organic conversations with colleagues, and it had been months since I had been able to speak with some of them one-on-one.

What’s been the response from clients/other recipients? 

The response has been astounding. I had hoped that it would be well-received, but I had no idea that it would bring so much joy to the firm and to our clients and contacts. Many of our attorneys have been forwarding the e-card to their clients saying “I promise, this is not just another generic video card.” I’m also quite humbled by the firm’s card being included in Above the Law’s annual holiday card contest.

Check out the card.